Which place is cheaper, Denver or Chicago?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Chicago and Denver can help you decide which place is right for you.
Chicago is a vibrant, multicultural, and edgey city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the museums, theater, and nightlife.
Denver is a suburban, accessible, and sprawling city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include hiking, shopping, and skiing.
Travelers will usually find more to do in Chicago than Denver, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Chicago is more popular for its museums, theatre productions, food, nightlife, music, beaches, shopping, christmas markets, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Denver is known for its skiing and hiking. Chicago is more touristy than Denver and is known for its thriving sports scene, its iconic local cuisine, and its world class shopping at the Magnificent Mile. It is also home to The Willis Tower (previously the Sears Tower). Denver is popular for serving as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains and the many national parks that are in the area.
Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Denver and Chicago. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Denver is very good for winter skiing. However, Chicago is not a skiing destination.
Head to Denver for some great skiing and other winter activities. Although there's no skiing in the immediate area, there is a huge list of world class ski resorts within an hour or two of town. Two of the closest are Echo Mountain Resort and Loveland Ski Area.
Chicago is not a skiing destination.
Chicago is renowned for its sights and museums. However, Denver is not a good city for its museums and history.
The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Chicago are among the most recognizable in the world. There are countless landmarks, museums, and iconic sights in the area. Some of the most famous are the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Notable landmarks include the famous Willis Tower - formerly the Sears Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and the iconic Cloud Gate (the bean).
While most people don't head to Denver specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Many people use Denver as a starting or ending point for their mountain and national park trip, but those who linger can visit some of the city's museums and sights. Popular museums include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the History Colorado Center, and the Forney Museum of Transportation.
Chicago is renowned for its theatre productions. However, Denver is not a theatre destination.
Famous for its theaters and plays, you'll find world-renowned shows in Chicago. Theater is big here with many of the major Broadway productions visiting the city. There is also an endless list of smaller, local theaters to choose from.
Denver is not a theatre destination.
Chicago is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Denver is not a good city for its restaurants.
Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Chicago is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. With everything from award-winning luxury restaurants to local dives, this city has something for everyone. It also has very distinct local flavors and dishes that create an identity and bring great pride to the locals. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.
Denver may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. It's a pretty large city, so you'll find some nice local restaurants, but the foodie scene is still emerging in many neighborhoods. A number of restaurants offer outdoor seating, which is nice. You'll also find a growing selection of international restaurants. For something uniquely local, you should try the Bison steak and fried pickles.
Chicago is renowned for nightlife and partying. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.
Chicago is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. It has a wide range of activities at night, with everything from theater and comedy clubs to dance venues, sporting events, and local bars. It's easy to fill many evenings with whatever activity appeals to you. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.
With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Denver. The city has come a long way with its nightlife. There's a great craft beer scene and the downtown area has really come to life. Popular bars and clubs in town include the Grizzly Rose and 54Thirty Rooftop. Many places are concentrated in the Soco Nightlife District.
Chicago is renowned for its live music scene. However, Denver is not a live music destination.
Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in Chicago The city is the birthplace of such interesting styles as modern gospel and the Chicago style blues.
Denver is not a live music destination.
Chicago is a nice place to visit for the beache. However, Denver is not a beach destination.
Chicago has a beach worth visiting. While you don't immediately think of beaches when you think of Chicago, there are some nice beaches by the lake. If the weather is nice, it's a great area to spend some time.
Denver is not a beach destination.
Denver is very good for its hiking experiences. However, Chicago is not a hiking destination.
Many people include a hike when visiting Denver. The city is very close to many beautiful parks and hiking areas in the Rocky Mountains. It's not hard to make a day trip from town and enjoy some great hiking. Nice options include the Trading Post Trail in Red Rocks Mountain Park, Bergen Peak near Evergreen, and Chimney Gulch Trail near the town of Golden.
Chicago is not a hiking destination.
Chicago is renowned for its shopping opportunities. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.
The abundance of shops in Chicago make it a world-class shopping destination. There are countless neighborhoods that are filled with boutiques, local vendors, and art galleries. The city has some of the country's best shopping opportunities, and the most notable area is the famous Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile.
Denver has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The city has many outlet malls that budget shoppers appreciate. There are also weekend farmer's markets, boutique shopping areas, and all of the major chains that you'll find in most larger cities.
Chicago is a well-known place for its Christmas activities. However, Denver does not offer Christmas activities.
Chicago is an extremely popular place to visit during the Christmas season. There's a number of seasonal celebrations, ice skating, and excellent shopping.
Denver does not offer Christmas activities.
Chicago is a nice place to visit for its Christmas markets. However, Denver does not offer Christmas markets.
Chicago has Christmas markets worth visiting. Shopping is a highlight of a trip to the city, and the Christkindlmarkt is not to be missed.
Denver does not offer Christmas markets.
Chicago is renowned for its family-friendly activities. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.
Chicago is an amazing family-friendly city to visit. The city has a large number of activities for kids, including zoos, Shedd Aquarium, impressive children's museums, and large and elaborate playgrounds in Millennium Park. It's easy to keep kids entertained in this very kid-focused city.
Denver is a family-friendly city. It is a family-friendly city with museums, playgrounds, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are also a few ropes courses near town that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Popular activities include the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus.
Both Chicago and Denver are good destinations to visit as a couple.
Chicago is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy exploring the city's vibrant theater scene and diverse neighborhoods. There are many varied restaurants and entertainment options that make for a great date night. There are also sporting events, parks, and gardens where couples can explore.
Denver is a nice destination for couples. There are many beautiful and romantic outdoor activities in the area such as parks and botanical gardens. There are also spas, including the impressive Spa at the Brown Palace, as well as upscale restaurants and fun bars and clubs to explore.
Chicago is a nice place to visit for backpackers. However, Denver is not a good city for backpackers and budget travelers.
It's common for backpackers to visit Chicago. The city doesn't have a huge backpacker vibe, but it does have a number of hostels that help keep costs in check.
Denver is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Some backpackers fly into Denver to begin their national park tour. There is a hostel or two around town, and if you leave town quickly you'll find campgrounds not far away.
Chicago is renowned for students. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.
Chicago is a great destination for students. The city has a large number of universities that bring in students from around the country and around the globe. It's a huge international city with economic ties and many opportunities connected to the universities.
Plenty of students visit Denver. There are a few students in the city, but there isn't a college town vibe that you'd get at other nearby university areas.
Chicago is renowned for its public transit. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.
Chicago has a great public transit system. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.
Denver has some public transit options. If you're not planning to leave town, the light rail and bus systems offer good access to much of Denver.
Chicago is a well-known place for its high level of walkability. However, Denver is not a good city for its ease of walking around.
Chicago is a very walkable city. The city has many restaurants, sights, and hotels that are easily accessible on foot.
Denver is not a very walkable city. While the downtown area is generally walkable, this is still a sprawling city where you'll really want to have a car to access areas outside of town.
Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Chicago and Denver. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Chicago than in Denver. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Chicago, and 2-3 days is enough time in Denver.
Families should spend more time in Chicago than Denver. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Chicago, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.
Couples should spend more time in Chicago than Denver. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Chicago that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.
Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Chicago than Denver if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Chicago.
Chicago is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.
In Denver, you'll find shopping and skiing. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
Chicago is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.
In Denver, you'll find skiing and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Denver has to offer.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.
Denver is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Travelers enjoy the museums and theater when visiting the diverse big city of Chicago. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Denver. Many people enjoy the shopping and skiing when visiting Denver. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Chicago is $279, while the average daily cost in Denver is $218. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chicago and Denver in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Chicago or Denver? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.
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Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chicago:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:
Prices for flights to both Denver and Chicago change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chicago.
Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Denver.
Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Here are a few actual costs in Chicago for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Denver are as follows:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chicago:
Also in Denver, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chicago and Denver, we can see that Chicago is more expensive. And not only is Denver much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Denver would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Denver and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Chicago would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Chicago than you might in Denver.
Chicago is bigger, and its population is about 5.1 times larger than the population of Denver. When comparing the population of Chicago vs. Denver, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit and the activities that interest you.
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